Audiovisual Productions: The Role of Translation and Bilingual Actors

Audiovisual Productions: The Role of Translation and Bilingual Actors

Audiovisual productions and their translation

Films, series, music, documentaries… These audiovisual productions are now an integral part of our daily lives and have become one of the most common forms of entertainment for families and friends. However, like many other businesses, the world of audiovisual production has changed and evolved over the years. The way information is communicated today is very different from the way it was communicated many years ago.

In the beginning, films were silent (who doesn’t know the famous Charlie Chaplin) and therefore there was no language barrier to exporting these films. The concept of films changed when dialogues appeared. It was no longer a simple video production. Other factors also gained importance: dialogues, languages, sounds, etc. This is why translation plays such a crucial role in audiovisual productions today. Without it, language barriers could not be overcome, and films and series could not be exported. 

Translating audiovisual productions

Dialogues and languages are not the only features that have changed the audiovisual world. There is another more recent factor to consider: streaming platforms. Everyone is familiar with these “new” platforms. They have become part of our lives in recent years. The number of series and films produced has grown exponentially since the creation of these companies. More productions, more languages, more actors, more actresses, more translation services needed… In fact, the development of this sector has been extensive and has not yet reached its peak. 

Films and series with multiple languages in their plots

If we focus on languages, we can assume that, depending on the country where the film or series is made, the language of the script will be the language spoken in that country. However, some of these audiovisual productions aim to reflect the real world, and in our daily lives, language barriers challenge us every day. 

There are many films and series that use multiple languages in their plots. 

Inglourious Basterds (2009) is a film directed by the famous Quentin Tarantino with three main languages in the script: English, German and French. 

The recent series 1899 tells the story of a group of immigrants who leave London on a steamship bound for New York City. Eight different languages appear throughout the series: English, German, Spanish, French, Polish, Danish, Portuguese and Cantonese. Incredible, isn’t it?

Spanglish (2004) is a comedy about the misunderstandings language can cause. As the title suggests, the script is in Spanish and English.

Bilingual actors and actresses

In our blog post about personality and language, we talked about people who grow up bilingual. Many actors and actresses we know are bilingual and we may not even realise it. For example, did you know that the following actors and actresses are bilingual? 

Natalie Portman

This incredible actress, known for many major roles (Black Swan, Thor, Star Wars…), is bilingual. She was born in Jerusalem and moved to the United States as a child. Her native language is Hebrew, but English has also become her mother tongue.

Timothée Chalamet

This promising young actor has starred in numerous films in recent years (Dune, Call Me By Your Name and the forthcoming Wonka). He was born in New York, but his father is French. Having two parents of different nationalities has meant that Timothée is fluent in both English and French.

Anya Taylor-Joy 

This 26-year-old actress is fluent in English and Spanish. She grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and moved to London at the age of 6. At first, she refused to learn English because she wanted to go back to Argentina. She suffered bullying at school and dropped out at the age of 16. She said: “All of a sudden, I was in a big city and didn’t speak the language. I didn’t really feel like I fitted in anywhere. I was too English to be Argentine, too Argentine to be English, too American to be anything.”

Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen had to be on the list. He is best known for his role in the Lord of the Rings film series. Viggo Mortensen has also been nominated for an Oscar three times and is known all over the world. He was born in the United States but, once again, due to his parents being of different nationalities (Danish father and American mother), Viggo now speaks fluent Danish and English. 

How LingoStar can help you to translate your audiovisual productions

As mentioned in this blog post, the world of audiovisual production is bigger than ever, and languages are now a huge part of the process. If a project is to reach the widest possible audience, languages are an important factor to take into account.

At LingoStar, we are here to help you overcome language barriers. We offer a wide range of audiovisual translation services and work with qualified audiovisual translators to ensure the highest quality work. 

If you need help with audiovisual productions, whether it is subtitling, voiceover, time coding or simply translating a production, please request a free translation quote. You can also email us at We’ll be happy to help.

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